KNOW YOUR NODES: ADVANCE AND DESTROY Tuesday, March 26, 2019, 7:00 AM In this edition of Know Your Nodes, we’ll be going over how you can advance and destroy a Node. If you missed our previous article in this series, we highly recommend you check out “Know Your Nodes: The Basics.” As a disclaimer, we want to note that our game is still in development, so all design decisions are subject to change during our Alphas and Betas. With that in mind, this series will provide you details on our current design plan for Nodes. HOW DO YOU ADVANCE AND BUILD UP A NODE? Nodes advance by collecting experience from the actions of players nearby. As players complete content inside of a Node’s Zone of Influence (the area around the node), they contribute that experience toward the Node’s development. The experience given to the Node may then be modified based on certain Events and Accomplishments. When a Node reaches the experience required, it undergoes the process of advancing to the next stage. There are a few exceptions where a Node cannot advance even though it has the required experience - most commonly, a Node can not advance if a Node is a Vassal of another Node and would advance to the same stage as its Parent Node. DEVELOPMENT AREAS The Development Area of a Node is where civilization will appear as the Node advances. As the Node Stage increases, different buildings, NPCs, and services will become available in the Development Area. The higher the Node Stage, the more complex and populated the Development Area becomes. Development Areas will also vary depending on the Node Type - Economic, Military, Scientific, or Divine; we’ll go into further details on each of those Node Types in future posts in this series. NODE STAGES Level 0 - Wilderness Stage: In this stage, the Development Area is empty and uninhabited. Level 1 - Expedition Stage: When a Node becomes an Expedition, a small group of NPCs and their compatriots will show up. The Development Area feels temporary at this level, reflective of what a group of people would carry with them - tents, campfires, etc. Level 2 - Encampment Stage: Once an Expedition becomes an Encampment, the group of NPCs grows in number, and more semi-permanent structures are in place. The Development Area feels a little more lived-in at this level, occupied with what people could build with wagons and simple tools - larger tents, smokehouses, and buildings constructed from local materials. Level 3 - Village Stage: At the Village Stage, the camp becomes a small frontier town. There are some permanent structures in place at this level, as well as the beginning of local Government. The Development Area feels permanent and lived in. You'll find buildings developed with more advanced materials, features such as stone and mortar, fences, and other common structures. The Village Stage will also unlock a Special Building that grants unique utility to its Node Type - Military, Economic, Divine or Scientific; we’ll share further details on those buildings in future entries in this series that cover each specific Node Type. Level 4 - Town Stage: When a Village becomes a Town, there are even more permanent structures, and a continued established local government. The development area feels well lived-in and developed at this point. Societies and Organizations begin to patronize the Town with ranking structures for players to participate in. Level 5 - City Stage: From a Town, a Node can change into a large City, which feels alive, bustling with development, and features the accommodations of a major player hub. The City Stage is populated with every major element of civilization, from guild halls to grand temples. Major embassies from other Nodes will also be present if diplomacy prevails. Relics can begin to appear within the vaults of these cities. Level 6 - Metropolis Stage: The final form of the Development Area is the Metropolis. At this stage of development, the Node is massive. This Metropolis will act as the central hub for all things in its region. Every organization and religion in the world will be represented within the city limits. Exchanges and markets will connect the world, while mansions and businesses will thrive within the Metropolis’ walls. The Metropolis will house a unique and powerful ability called a Superpower that is determined by its Node Type - Military, Economic, Divine or Scientific; we’ll share more details on each of those Node Types in future entries in this series. GAINING EXPERIENCE As stated earlier, any action that a player takes that grants experience also grants that experience to the Node whose Zone of Influence they are currently in. This includes experience from quests, crafting, killing monsters, exploration, gathering, building, and more. If a Node is a Vassal of another Node and reaches the experience required to advance, it first checks to see if it can advance based on its parent’s hierarchy. If it can advance, it does so. If it cannot (e.g. a Level 2 Node that is a Vassal of a Level 3 Node), it is instead capped, and all overflow experience accumulated thereafter is granted to the Parent Node. EXPERIENCE FROM VASSAL NODES If a Node is a Vassal Node and is capped from advancing further, it first applies any experience earned to its own deficit (see Node Atrophy section), and then applies excess experience earned to its Parent Node. If the Parent Node advances and the Vassal is able to grow, it becomes uncapped. If a Node is capped and is both a Vassal and has its own Vassals, any experience earned from itself or its Vassals is first applied to their own deficit. Any experience beyond that is then sent to its Parent Node. CULTURAL EXPERIENCE Each player’s contributed experience is flagged with their character race and other identifiers. When a Node advances, the race with the highest experience contribution determines the Node’s style and culture. This style and culture change can happen at every Node Stage. For example, if a Node advances to Level 2 - Encampment Stage and 51% of all experience was earned by Ren’Kai players, the Node will be a Level 2 Ren’Kai Node. If that same Node advances to a Level 3 - Village Stage Node, but the Py’Rai contributed 62% of all the experience earned, then the Node will be a Level 3 Py’Rai Node. Cultural influences bring more than just the aesthetic and storyline changes - benefits are granted to the dominant culture within that Node’s Zone of Influence. EVENTS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS The experience granted to Nodes by players can be modified by certain Events and Accomplishments within the Node. The loss of a war can hinder growth by reducing the incoming experience, whereas a victory may increase the incoming experience. The successful completion of a new trade agreement with another Node can boost incoming experience through the completion of commerce-specific quests or achievements. This system is designed to encourage success and cooperation within the citizenship of a Node, to aid in the ultimate growth of that Node. HOW DO YOU DELEVEL AND DESTROY A NODE? NODE ATROPHY All Nodes have an experience deficit that accumulates daily. The deficit is based on the current level of the Node; experience earned is applied to the deficit, then any excess is added to the Node’s experience pool. At the end of the day, any remaining deficit is subtracted from the Node’s experience pool. If the deficit would cause the Node to drop under the required experience for its current level, certain flags will appear to notify the citizens that all is not well in their Node. After a short period, if the atrophy is not addressed, the Node will then delevel. NODE DELEVELING If a Node delevels, it returns to the previous Stage, but keeps the racial style it had before deleveling. A Node cannot delevel more than a single level at a time. For example, a Level 2 Node would become a Level 1, or a Level 1 Node would become a Level 0. If deleveling would cause a Node to lose its Vassals, it does so. When a Node delevels it enters a “safe period,” during which the deficit is temporarily reduced to 0. Once the safe period expires, the Node can once again begin losing experience based on its deficit. NODE DESTRUCTION Nodes can be destroyed starting at Level 3 - Village Stage, and are destroyed through sieges. Sieges are started via an item which is acquired through a quest that scales in difficulty with respect to the level of the Node which is being targeted for the siege. Once the item is brought to the Node and is activated, the declaration period begins and a countdown is initiated for players in the region to see. This countdown runs for a number of days equal to the level of the Node being sieged. Once the countdown is complete, the siege begins. There is a cooldown between sieges, and players must wait a certain amount of time after an unsuccessful siege before a new siege can be declared. The higher the Node level, the longer the cooldown between sieges. If a siege is successful, then the Node is brought down to Level 0, and anyone who was a citizen of that Node is no longer a citizen. Freeholds within the Zone of Influence are subject to a period of vulnerability. These Freeholds can be destroyed by other players during a period of roughly 2 hours after a successful siege. Destroyed Freeholds are subject to material loss, and blueprints for them are mailed to the player to utilize for future placement in order to allow the player to keep their Freehold’s layout and structure. Once the vulnerability period is complete, any remaining Freeholds will exist under a grace period for roughly 1 week where another Node may take over the Zone of Influence of the Freehold. As some areas in the world grow, others will fall. This is the foundation of the living, breathing world that is Ashes of Creation, where players will have the ability to make important decisions that matter in the longevity of an area becoming a city, or whether to siege a rival town. Rise above the ashes, create the world around you, and be a part of the story that unfolds because of your actions and decisions. In the next Know Your Nodes article, we’ll be covering the Scientific Node Type, so be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook in order to get the most up-to-date information on Ashes of Creation!